Hormone Replacement Therapy, commonly referred to as HRT, is a medical procedure often employed by health professionals to remediate illnesses impacting both the male and female population. The following brief article will answer several questions including what is male hormone replacement therapy, what conditions the therapeutic technique is used to alleviate, which type of hormones are typically replaced, the methods in which the procedure is administered, as well as the potential associated risks.
The Basics Of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Typically, HRT is performed on adult men experiencing either a primary loss of hormones or a secondary health issue that is precipitating a depletion of these vital substances.
What Substances Does This Form Of Therapy Replace?
In most instances, hormone replacement therapy is employed to replenish diminished levels of testosterone, the primary reproductive hormone the male body produces. Testosterone affects numerous bodily systems and is responsible for:
- Driving libido.
- Muscle growth.
- Bone Strength.
- Red blood cell regeneration.
- Mood balancing.
A notable loss of testosterone could elicit manifestations including:
- Weight gain.
- Diminished sex drive.
- Muscle loss.
- Concentration difficulties.
What Conditions Is This Procedure Used To Treat?
Testosterone production usually diminishes as men age. Some members of the medical community refer to this phenomenon as Andropause. After turning 40, blood concentrations of this hormone gradually decrease. A slow decline is considered normal. Nonetheless, some men might benefit from replacement therapy.
There are, however, certain medical concerns that could result in a more precipitous drop in testosterone production. The most common cause of this problem is a condition known as hypogonadism, in which the testes fail to produce sufficient quantities of testosterone. Hypogonadism can occur during any stage of a man’s life and is often spurned by external factors such as injury, infection or some other disease process. Other illnesses and substances may also precipitate low testosterone such as:
- Various glandular disorders.
- Specific autoimmune diseases.
- Certain medications.
Methods Of Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy can be administered several different ways. The method chosen by a man and his physician will typically be contingent upon the problem’s exact cause and severity. Most common therapeutic regiments are provided under a physician’s care and are only available through prescription. Such treatment protocols include:
- Skin patches. Typically, this product is affixed to the recipient’s arm once daily. Dosage durations vary depending on the patient.
- Injections. Usually, injections are administered directly into the recipient’s muscles.
- Implants. Small pellets containing concentrations of synthetic testosterone can be placed directly under the skin for a period lasting from several weeks to several months.
- Gels. These products are applied to the skin and testosterone is absorbed into the recipient’s body. Gels are often used once per day.
- Pumps. These products offer men the opportunity to pump testosterone in gel-like form into their noses and absorb testosterone through their respiratory systems.
Is The Procedure Safe?
Typically, if conducted under doctor supervision, hormone therapy is relatively safe. However, it does come with certain health risks, including liver damage, blood clots and heart trouble. Any man considering replacement therapy is advised to carefully weigh the benefits and risks with their physician.